New Delhi: Installation of CCTV camera and emergency alarm bells in ladies compartments in trains are among a series of steps recommended by a parliamentary committee for safe travel by women.
The 31-member committee has also asked railways for giving a distinct colour code to ladies compartments to make it easily identifiable by all women commuters–even illiterate or uneducated passengers.
It has also sought banning of entry of unauthorsied vendors, beggars and anti-social elements into the ladies compartmemnt.
The Standing Committee on Railways, in its latest report, has recommended a common helpine number for women passengers for all trains and deployment of adequate security personnel in rail premises to instil a sense of confidence among women passengers.
Observing that the present representation of women in Railway Protection Force is very minimal at 1.7 per cent only, the panel, headed by headed by DMK MP T R Baalu, has recommended that the Railway Ministry expedite the process of recruitment of women candidates in RPF.
The committee regetted although the Railways have specified a very impressive list of basic amenities that should be provided in susburban stations, “they have not been very successful in ensuring that all these amenities, in particular clean and hygienic toilet facilities, are made available to the travelling public.”
The committee wanted potable and clean drinking water to be made available at all stations. The committee also emphasized the importance of proper lighting at station premises, platforms circulating area, resting area and toilets.
The parliamentary committee has observed that different railway zones have separately women helpine numbers which only add to the confusion among women commuters.
It has recommended the Railway Board expedite the process of providing a simple and uniform helpine number for the entire railways which should be given wide publicity.
The committee recommended installation of security cameras inside the coaches but cautioned that such surveillance should not compromise the privacy of commuters.
It asked Railways to ensure visible security presence at stations/platforms and in trains, particularly during late hours, to prevent untoward incidents and to instill a sense of security in women commuters.
It suggested installation of emergency alarm bells in ladies coaches which must be connected to the loco pilot cabin and the guard cabin.
The committee also recommended that the issues of uneven platform-coach height be looked into and immediate steps taken in larger interests of safety of passengers.
The panel has stressed electronic train indicator boards should be made an absolute essential in all suburban stations.
The committee took note of the RDSO standards with regard to amenities to be provided at railway stations for persons with disabilities as part of fundamental amenities.
It has recommended railways take expeditious steps to implement the recommendations of the RDSO guidelines in letter and spirit for the benefit of the differently-abled commuters with the provisions of the persons with Disabilities Act 19995.
It recommended railways consider further streamlining and fine tuning of the entire security arrangement so that the safety and security of passengers and railway property are not compromised in any way due to multiplicity of agencies. In addition, the filing up of vacancies of security personnel should be accorded the highest priority and recruitment and training completed expeditiously, the committee adds.
The committee has also said its recommendations on safety and security of women passengers should be applicable not merely to suburban train services but to the entire railway network.